CHAMPIONSGATE, United States — Steven Beitashour is quick to tell you he is a soccer player, not a politician.
But as a California-born Iran international, the Toronto FC fullback has a unique perspective on President Donald Trump’s controversial attempt to restrict who can enter the U.S.
Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely barred the processing of refugees from Syria. It also temporarily barred the citizens of seven majority Muslim nations — Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq — from entering the U.S.
Beitashour pointed to Toronto captain Michael Bradley’s eloquent opposition to the ban, which has been successfully challenged in court.
"We were a country known for having open arms and welcoming people," said Beitashour, a San Jose native. "So to kind of go against what we’re known for, I feel like a lot of people disagree with it.
"I would love to see my cousins, my aunts come over here with no bans like they were able to before."
The order was subsequently challenged in court with a U.S. Court of Appeal blocking key parts. The Trump administration says it will rewrite the order to address the court’s ruling.
Beitashour’s parents are from Iran. His father, a retired electrical engineer with Apple, originally came to the U.S. to study at San Francisco State.